Trusting Your Feelings only Works in Star Wars (and even then, only half the time)
And determining the difference is at once incredibly simple and insanely difficult.
- Simple when you finally let go of the cultural lie that you can just trust your feelings; that your heart will just “know.”
- Difficult, because the passions of infatuation are so fun to play with. Until they aren’t.
But this isn’t Tatooine and you’re not Luke Skywalker, so when it comes to things like relationships, you can’t just turn off your targeting computer, use the force and fire away. You’re not trying to hit some thermal exhaust port. You’re trying to find a life mate.
Your feelings will fail you. Eventually.
Letting your emotions determine your relationships is a lot like letting your taste buds determine your diet. You’ll always be happy in the short-run and unhealthy in the long run.
And that may be no big deal when you’re young, but those poor decisions eventually catch up with you. And when they do, they don’t simply pass you by like they’re trying to beat you in a pod race. They beat you up emotionally, eventually freezing your soul in spiritual carbonite, and then when they’re done with you, they leave you for dead.
The same way our taste buds can lead us to put on extra pound after extra pound until our body begins to shut down, we can let our emotions add far more relational baggage than anyone should carry.
We wind up repeating the words of Lando Calrissian, “This deal keeps getting worse all the time.” Eventually, we begin to shut down emotionally.
The connection is obvious when it comes to diet. No one denies that our high fat/caloric intake adds up to 1/3rd of all adults in the US being overweight.
However, don’t you think poor relationship decisions could be a major reason why half of the adult population is single today? Do we really need a scientific study to prove this theory?
That’s why I’m getting down on my knees right now, to beg you to…
Let facts direct the course of your serious relationships instead of feelings.
Toward that end, last week I shared just a few questions that would give you the kind of solid information you need to accurately judge your current (or future) romantic interest.
But this week I’m going to encourage you to judge yourself.
You know: the other half of your love equation.
How would you answer any of these questions?
- Are you motivated to make this person’s life better, or just to make out?
- Does this person inspire you to be the best “you” that you can be?
- Are YOU able to be completely honest with them?
- Does being around this person encourage your walk with God or derail it?
- Are you able to admit to this person when you’re wrong?
- Would you be willing to do (or say) what was in the best interest of this person, even if they didn’t like it? Even if they left you because of it?
Again, these are just a few questions which can tell you factually whether your love is real. If your answers to any of the above questions is a “no” or an “I don’t know” then you are not in love. You are infatuated.
The right “feeling” can never answer these questions.
Only growing in healthy relational intimacy can do that. Indeed, only in the context of healthy life-giving intimacy can you answer the two most important questions in life.
But romance will keep you from doing that.
Romance will keep you ever feeling and never knowing.
And to be honest. That’s probably what we would prefer: the feelings over the knowing.
Sadly the feelings never last.
Think about it this way.
Just step out of the present moment and imagine you’ve been married to this person for five years. What if it’s only then that you finally face the facts that:
- You can’t be transparent with this person, or…
- You can’t reconcile your divergent standards, or…
- You simply don’t like who you’ve become with this person in your life.
It’s a yucky feeling. And that’s when the yummy feelings you had before won’t matter squat. Just ask Padme after she found out Anakin was not quite the “balance to the force” she had imagined he would be for her. She ignored the facts and followed her feelings. And it ultimately cost her life.
Many, MANY star-struck lovers do precisely what she did. They may not die on a volcanic planet while giving birth to twins, like Padme, but they die in other ways.
Well. At least it did for Luke. Not so much for his mom.
Well actually. When you think about it it didn’t always work for Luke either.
[This is post is part of a series called Relation^ology (it begins with this post) where we identify the greatest relational need of our heart and then ID the counterfeits we seek out or settle for instead. Relation^ology started out as a discussion series and can be booked for your college, youth or young adults group (or singles group, life group, cell group, community group or whatever they’re calling Bible study these days).]
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!